The Lan Su Chinese Garden in the Chinatown neighborhood of Vancouver, BC. is a little piece of serenity in a very busy downtown. All of the garden’s materials were brought in from the city of Suzhou, Vancouver’s sister city and built by citizens of that city. I took the 45 minute tour lead by a wonderful docent while my other family members wondered off to find their own adventures. One of the interesting facts I learned is that the decorative windows in the walls are all different and they are called leaks because they lead in light and air. More information can be found here.
When I told people that went to visit the Lan Su Chinese Gardens in Portland, Oregon they corrected me and explained that I meant Japanese Gardens. No, they are Chinese Gardens, the most authentic Chinese Gardens outside of China. My friends and I got to the gardens by hopping the light rail in the rain. A short walk from our stop took us to downtown Portland’s China Town/Old Town where the gardens occupy a city block. The cities of Portland and its sister city, Suzhou, China worked together to create this tranquil and lovely oasis. The gardens opened in September 2000. They feature 500 tons of rocks from China, but no plants because of import bans. Instead all of the plants were located in Oregon nurseries and gardens. The tea room featured a menu of teas making me wish I could have tried several.